Troy men’s team falls to Southern Miss on the road

Published 11:22 am Friday, December 30, 2022

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The Troy Trojans men’s basketball team (8-6, 0-1) dropped its Sun Belt Conference opener on the road to the Southern Miss Golden Eagles (12-2, 1-0) by a score of 64-60 on Thursday night.

The loss was the first conference opener Troy has lost under head coach Scott Cross and the first time it’s happened since 2018. The first half was the lowest scoring half of the season for Troy – or a Troy opponent – as Southern Miss held a 26-23 lead at the break. Both sides combined to shoot just 1-of-17 from three-point range in the first half.

In the second half, Troy shot 7-for-19 from three-point range but just 36.4 percent from the field overall, while Southern Miss shot 46.4 percent from the field.

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The Golden Eagles were able to force 16 Troy turnovers and won the rebound battle 40-36, as well.

“They got us so out of rhythm in the first half,” Cross said. “They did their 2-2-1 zone (defense) to matchup against us, and they are really good at it. we worked so hard these past few days on defense, and there were some improvements tonight. We played good enough defensively to get the win.

Mentally, we made too many mistakes. In the first half, we had two assist and 11 turnovers. It shows that mentally we weren’t there, credit to (Southern Miss). Defense has to be constant because if we know what we are going to get defensively, we can implement it and spend more time on how we are going to scout and attack them.”

Zay Williams led the Trojan attack with 19 points and nine rebounds, while Kieffer Punter added 14 points and four rebounds. Aamer Muhammad also chipped in with 11 points and three assists. Nelson Phillips grabbed six rebounds and tallied seven points with two assists. For Southern Miss, Austin Crowley had 17 points and Felipe Haase had 16 points and eight rebounds.

Troy remains on the road this Saturday at Texas State for another conference game at 4p.m.